Remembering the Forgotten

The Read Write Poem prompt for today is to write about a “light-bulb” moment. This is set in about 1985, remembering 1979.

Flashback

Sitting alone
on the dorm basement floor
at three a.m.,
gloss white, gray speckled
linoleum squares
trail
toward infinity.

Cinder blocks
painted pale blue
spread a comforting cool
across my back,
yet I am in
stone sober turmoil,
restless in my skin.

Then a wave
rolls over me:
the floor transforms
to the kitchen at home
and I am thirteen,
on hands
and knees, then curled
in a ball
as a belt flails wildly
across random swaths
of me

and he is screaming,
demanding I take back
the claim
he ever laid a hand on mom,

who is washing dishes,
trying to be
invisible.

I return,
shaking,
to the empty
hall, unable to explain
why I remembered
or how I ever
forgot.

Flashback

Sitting alone

on the dorm basement floor

at three a.m.,

gloss white, gray speckled

linoleum squares

trail

toward infinity.

Cinder blocks

painted pale blue

spread a comforting

cool across my back,

yet I am in

stone sober turmoil,

restless in my skin.

Then a wave

rolls over me:

the floor transforms

to the kitchen at home

and I am thirteen,

on hands

and knees, then curled

in a ball

as a belt flails wildly

across random swaths

of me

and he is screaming,

demanding I take back

the claim

he ever laid a hand on mom,

who is washing dishes,

trying to be

invisible.

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10 thoughts on “Remembering the Forgotten

  1. For no apparent reason these things pop up sometimes.
    One learns strategies over time to deal with it. Karen is right. Put it in the light.I think from an older person to a
    younger person…the most important thing is to genuinely
    like and be proud of yourself…nothing can harm you then.

  2. Powerful piece, Matt–it has me shaking! Sorry you ever went through something like that, though I guess remembering and dealing with it up front is the right way to go.

  3. The triggers are almost always very subtle, almost always amazing. And what we recall…unpredictable. Would that it were always pleasant; sadly, it’s not.

    Fine, fine work.

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